Aspen: Fishing about to heat up |

Aspen: Fishing about to heat up

Janet Urquhart
Pitkin County correspondent
Vail CO, Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen TimesPete Cheroske of Basalt reels in a trout recently on the Fryingpan River below the Ruedi Reservoir dam. The flows in area rivers are beginning to drop and the action is picking up, report area fishing guides.

BASALT, Colorado ” Area flyshops have begun putting boats back on the water and the trout are hungry. The fishing, say local guides, is about to get hot.

While the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers continue to run high, spring runoff has begun to subside and the fishing on both rivers is picking up.

Flows on the dam-controlled Fryingpan River above Basalt have dropped to about 300 cubic feet per second. That’s a bit higher than normal for early July below Ruedi Reservoir, but the river is fishable and clear all the way down to Basalt, reported Will Sands at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.

Anglers are finding strong hatches of pale morning duns (PMDs) on the Fryingpan, caddis flies on the lower half of the river and rusty spinner falls on many evenings, according to Sands. Mysis shrimp patterns get the call near the dam and blue-wing olives remain in the mix, particularly on cloudy days.

The upper Roaring Fork, from Aspen down to Woody Creek, is definitely dropping and the water is starting to clear, but angling remains challenging, according to guide Chris Lemons at Aspen Flyfishing. Look for trout pushed against the bank by the rushing water, he said.

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“I think any day, it’s really going to start to happen,” Lemons said. “The fish are starting to eat. They’re looking for bugs.”

Some area shops reported putting drift boats back in the Roaring Fork and the Colorado last weekend for the first time since a memorable spring runoff chased off all but the kayakers and whitewater rafters.

A float trip can still be a swift ride, though.

“A day trip ended up being a half-day float because the water’s running so fast,” said Maureen “Mo” Bratcher at Frying Pan Anglers in Basalt.

“The float fishing is going to get better and better with each passing day and each passing week,” Sands predicted. Caddis are hatching on the lower Roaring Fork and the first few green drakes have been spotted in Glenwood Springs, he said.

“It’s just starting to happen ” everywhere,” agreed Drew Reid at Roaring Fork Anglers in Glenwood Springs. “The insects are starting to hatch and the fish are hungry.”

The water’s still high, Reid cautioned, suggesting anglers look to eddies and slack water for the trout.

Try caddis dries and emergers in the evening on the lower Fork and the Colorado, and prince nymphs (sizes 8 and 10) and 20-inchers during the day, he advised.

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